CSExtra – Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Should national prestige trump science as justification for space exploration in a tough economy? Mars…surprisingly warm. In Virginia, Orbital Sciences Corp., NASA’s second commercial International Space Station re-supply service, touches the launch pad. NASA came about 54 years ago this month; and the storied agency’s birth could have been much different. Essays examine the promise and the hype surrounding a human presence in lunar orbit and the spectacle of Endeavour’s final cross country journey. A context for human activity at the lunar Lagrangian points. Seeking workers to mine asteroids. NASA funds three U. S. aerospace companies to study upgrades to the Space Launch System. Engineers settle on a great cup of coffee. Felix Baumgartner’s parachute jump from the edge of space for Red Bull nears.
1. From The New York Times: When it comes to space exploration, science should trump national security, technology innovation and global standing as a key justification even in a fragile economy, writes Lawrence Krauss, professor at Arizona State University. It’s a fine point U.S. presidential candidates are not making, he writes. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/science/with-limited-budgets-pursuing-science-smartly.html?_r=0
2. From Space.com: NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover is finding Gale Crater surprisingly warm, and it’s not even spring. http://www.space.com/17828-mars-weather-curiosity-rover-discovery.html
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: Orbital Sciences Corp moves the first stage of its Antares rocket to a Virginia launch pad on Monday, a milestone in the company’s bid to join SpaceX as a regular commercial provider of supplies to the International Space Station. A hot fire test at the pad is a month or so away. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/antares/121001rollout/
4. From The Atlantic: A look back at NASA’s birth this month in 1958. The outcome could have been much different as policy makers looked at options that included organizational alliances with the Atomic Energy Commission, DOD, the Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation and others. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/happy-birthday-nasa-heres-what-might-have-happened-if-you-were-never-born/263087/
5. From The Space Review: Two of this week’s essays examine the merits of a human presence in lunar orbit and the excitement generated by NASA’s retired orbiter Endeavour as it was ferried from Florida to California for public display.
A. In “The cislunar gateway with no gateway,” essayist John K. Strickland looks at the promise and the hype surrounding lunar Lagrangian points as the next step in human space exploration. Strickland is a National Space Society board member. Look to item 6 for more on the topic. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2165/1
B. In “Final flight,” Los Angeles TV writer Andre Bormanis examines the media phenomena that was orbiter Endeavour’s cross country ferry flight to Los Angeles, where the spacecraft will enter the California Science Center this month for public display. Endeavour received the adoration on its east to west migration that went lacking after the earliest of its 25 trips to orbit. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2163/1
6. From The Spudis Lunar Resources Blog: Human activities at the lunar Lagrange points fit best in a wider development strategy involving all of the resources in cislunar space, including the moon’s surface, with robots fulfilling critical roles as well, writes lunar scientist Paul Spudis. http://www.spudislunarresources.com/blog/gateway-l-2-mission-opening-cislunar-space-or-dead-end/
A. From The Houston Chronicle: NASA considers an inflatable base just beyond the moon at the L-2 point in a study of exploration strategies by the agency’s human architecture team. The base would serve as a gateway for missions to Near Earth Asteroids and to Mars as well as a way point where astronauts could carry out telerobotic activities on the lunar surface.
7. From The Wall Street Journal: Planetary Resources looks for young engineers, scientists to develop an asteroid mining strategy. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/10/01/planetary-resources-intern-hiring/
8. From The Huntsville Times: NASA selects Dynetics, Inc., ATK and Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Services to sketch out propulsion options for the most powerful version of a Space Launch System capable of starting humans on future missions of deep space exploration. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/10/nasa_awards_dynetics_contract.html
9. From The Huffington Post: Blossom One brings a great cup of coffee brought to you by young engineers with backgrounds at Apple, NASA, BMW, and Tesla Motors. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/blossom-one-limited-apple-nasa-coffee-machine_n_1920529.html?utm_hp_ref=nasa
10. From The Associated Press via The Washington Post: Parachutist Felix Baumgartner is looking to next Monday for his record setting leap from a balloon floating 23 miles above the Earth. During his descent, Baumgartner will break the sound barrier. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/skydiver-aims-to-break-sound-barrier-not-neck-in-highest-fastest-free-fall-ever-attempted/2012/10/01/94b93620-0bf8-11e2-97a7-45c05ef136b2_story.html
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